Frequently Asked Questions

Using Zoku

Zoku (族) is a Japanese term meaning tribe, clan, or family.

A tribe is a group of people in which you have a strong affiliation. For instance, the love of a sports team, or a role playing game, or support group, or a band you’ve seen 50 times, or your hometown high school, etc.

Zoku sends out a unique Bluetooth Low Energy beacon for each tribe sticker you download. When Zoku detects a tribe beacon signal from someone else nearby which matches one of the tribe stickers you downloaded, it alerts you.

If Zoku identifies a tribemate in your immediate vicinity, it will only notify them the tribe(s) that matched. Non-matching tribes are never shared. Unlike wearing T-shirts, hats, buttons or distinctive clothing which broadcasts tribe affiliation to everyone, Zoku only lets other tribemates know that are you a member, and that you are open to meeting face-to-face.

Zoku’s two step matching process where first your device name is shown, and then if you message someone, your nickname is shown, helps with anonymity. Zoku also collects no personal data also helps.

If someone in the same room as you sees you check your phone when they send you a message they may realize you are member of tribe before you reveal themselves, or if you obviously the only other person around. Despite all measures taken by Zoku, Zoku can not guarantee 100% anonymity

Anyone can download public tribe stickers and there is no guarantee a match is really who they say they are.

No, Zoku just informs other people in close proximity if there is a matching tribe.

Zoku complements other social media sites. Zoku is about social discovery - introductions to like minded people who are in your immediate vicinity. It is about impromptu face to face conversations. You can use other social media sites to keep in touch. You can also use social media to let other like minded people know about Zoku

You can read more about why Zoku was created in our About Zoku section.

No, Zoku runs in the background and alerts you when a match is found.

On iOS devices, Location Services (on iOS) and bluetooth must be enabled to run in the background in order for this to work. If Location Services on iOS is not on, the Zoku will be automatically closed due to not being used.

Zoku uses Bluetooth Low energy (BLE, or Bluetooth Smart) and very little processing power. If available, Zoku can use GPS data to help find tribemates.

In a single sided tribe, all people who downloaded the tribe sticker will match. These are great for fan clubs, or members of an organization.

Double sided tribes allow for two groups in the tribe. For example, in the Ticket Seller tribe there are ticket sellers and ticket buyers. A ticket seller will only match with a ticket buyer. Two ticket buyers will not match, nor will two ticket sellers.

On the 'searching for matching tribe members' If you pinch on the Bluetooth icon? the system can adjust the sensitivity of app to only match people that are in closer proximity. If you click the tribe sticker you can turn a tribe on and off, or simply turn off notifications for that tribe. You may also want to join (or create if necessary) a more specific tribe. Instead of joining a tribe of people who simply like the same band as you, join a tribe of people who saw them live at least 5 times, or people who enjoy their earlier work. If a tribe is too specific there is a risk of not finding enough members, so you need to find a balance.

Yes, there are many dating tribes in the 'personal' section (hyperlink) and we believe Zoku is the perfect dating app since you can simply download a tribe sticker and go about your day. Go to your favorite music venue, nature hike or other activity. You will be notified once a match is found. After a few text messages, decide if you want to meet and then simply talk to the person face-to-face. Since they are in your immediate vicinity no complex planning of when and where to meet. No need for pre arrangements. If there is no chemistry, just continue on with your day.

Yes. By default, adult themed tribes are turned off and are not visible on the website. In the app, simply click in the filter icon to turn off the adult filter and agree to the extra terms and conditions.

Zoku is capable of matching tribes and sending messages using only Bluetooth Low Energy communication between mobile devices, and does not need an internet connection or GPS signal to work.

Zoku will first attempt to send the message via Bluetooth. If the tribemate moves out of range Bluetooth range, it will send the message via the Internet

Under the "Matches" section you will see the people you matched with. You can select your tribemates here and send them a message. After 7 days without sending a message, the entries will be removed from this list.

The device name is unique, so no two people will ever have the same name. When you match with someone, this device name is used to see if there was ever a previous match. You are free to select your nickname and photo, which can reflect your personality.

Yes, nicknames are not unique in the system.

If you want to make any changes to a tribe after you created it, please send a request via the Contact Us page on our website.

During the approval process, Zoku tries to ensure that all tribes meet the defined community standards and are not duplicates of existing tribes. If something slips by, after a tribe is approved, Zoku can remove tribes that do not meet the community standards or merge a tribe into an existing one if they are duplicates.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the power- and application-friendly version of Bluetooth that is used by Zoku to match users who have joined the same tribe. In order for Zoku to work on your mobile phone, the device's hardware and software must support the full BLE specification.

Please see the system requirements page for more details.

Zoku is a notification app, be patient, you will be notified when a tribemate is near.

On iOS, you can use the Simulation mode to see and learn how the app works. On the Tribemate matching screen is a link that says "run simulation" Click it and some "ghost tribemates" will show up. You can even have a short conversation with them!

Any number you wish. Ten is a good number.

Each tribe has a "greeting" which can be set to whatever you want, and is sent with the tribe match. For people in the ticket selling tribe (for example) you can say which seats you have for sale, and how much you want.

Non sponsored (company) tribes do not support broadcasting to tribe members. You need to be an owner of a sponsored tribe in order to do this.

Make sure your tribe follows Zoku’s Community Standards and that a similar tribe does not already exist. If your tribe is an adult theme, users will need to turn on access to Adult Tribes before they can see your tribe. Try to ensure your tribe is not too generic, and the description and image make it clear what it is all about. Contact Us if you still have more questions

Using Zoku - Companies and Organizations

Please Contact Us our Zoku Partner specialists and they will be happy to discuss the options with you .

Yes, we can create custom comics. Please Contact our Zoku Partner specialists with a description of your organization and what you want in the comic.

Zoku can help build your brand in many ways. Getting your customers to join your tribe will ensure they will think of your brand each time they get a match. Please Contact our Zoku Partner specialists for more information.

If you are a brick & mortar based company you can print signs for Zoku, or hand out flyers. Zoku can create a custom QR code for you, people can install and automatically join your tribe. For online promotions, simply include a blurb about Zoku and a link to your tribe via emails, on your website, and any social media presence you have. It is even possible to run promotions and specials around Zoku. Please Contact our Zoku Partner specialists for more information.

Zoku does support in-app advertising. Please Contact our Zoku Partner specialists for more information.

With a Sponsored Tribe, it is possible to message all members. Please Contact our Zoku Partner specialists for more information.

Corporate Information

Zoku’s is headquartered in Berkeley, California with development and business teams in, Toronto, Montreal and Champaign Illinois

Please use our Contact Us form to tell us something about yourself, or send an email to info@zoku.me with your CV.

Yes. Please use our Contact Us form and someone will contact you with details.

Zoku was founded in 2014 by Scott Gray.